Saturday, September 17, 2011

Becoming Marie Antoinette

Becoming Marie Antoinette
Juliet Grey
Ballantine Books
August 2011
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-0345523860
480 pages
Historical Fiction

Most of us have a general knowledge of Marie Antoinette and focus on her being the beheaded queen.
Who was she? How did she become the infamous queen?

Growing up as the fifteenth child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and the Holy Roman
Emperor Francis I of Austria, who reigned over the Habsburg dynasty, had to have been unusual. Marie
Antoinette learned quickly by charming those around her rather than being well-educated. In music,
she excelled after having Gluck as her musical tutor.

Once her father died from a stroke, the Empress sought a French alliance and marrying one of her
children to the Dauphin of France strengthened the relationship between these two countries.
Unfortunately, the French advisors found many faults with Marie Antoinette that needed to be
immediately altered such as being tutored with the French language, politics, having her teeth
straightened, and having a personal hair dresser. For a twelve-year-old child, she became very insecure
with her own capabilities with all the constant criticism and advice.

Having a young teenager understand the intricacies of the French royalty society and understanding
who the power players were and how to play them did not always work for the young Dauphine. Added
to that was a husband who did not want sexual relations with her while both France and Austria were
anxiously looking for her to become pregnant.

Becoming Marie Antoinette is the first of a proposed trilogy about the French queen from a well-
researched novelist, Juliet Grey, the pseudonym for Leslie Carroll. This native New Yorker has worked
extensively as a writer adapting many classics for stage productions, general fiction, and historical
fiction. She has also used the pen name of Amanda Elyot. She lives with her husband in Manhattan and

The strength of this novel is the strong personal voice of the main character, Marie Antoinette and
seeing her life through her eyes. For the reader, you feel that you are actually on a journey with this

I look forward to the next book in this trilogy, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (Marie Antoinette, #2).
This should be available in 2012.

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